Todd woke in the hibernation capsule and took a moment to orient himself. This was one of the stasis chambers on Atlantis, not a hive hibernation pod. By the sounds around him, he was fairly sure Atlantis was in space but not hyperspace. "Why am I awake Sheppard?" he asked. He still wore the waist belt and wrist cuffs. Sheppard was the only human in the medical suite.
"We have a systems issue," Sheppard explained. "We're low on power. Bringing you out of stasis reduces power drain. More than that, if we want to survive this, we may need your help."
"The shields?" Todd asked. He knew the windows here were not designed to withstand exposure to hard vacuum.
"Holding for now but we need to land. There are 3 systems within range of the sublight engines. One definitely isn't viable. We're still digging for information on the other two. I was hoping you might know something."
"I'm fairly low on energy," Todd pointed out. "I want to survive as much as you but if I'm awake and you won't let me feed, I won't survive anyway."
"I can't just unlock your cuffs and toss someone in here to feed you," Sheppard told him. Todd had expected that they wouldn't but it was worth a try. Sheppard glanced at the door. Todd could hear two guards out there talking softly in unhappy voices. He took a step closer to Todd and lowered his voice. "I'm the best chance we have of landing the city in one piece. If I don't survive you don't survive. No one else is as good as me. Keep that in mind."
Todd stared at him blankly, certain that he must have misunderstood the human's intentions. Was he offering himself? "Can you step out of the stasis chamber?" Sheppard asked him. "It will be easier to reach the cuffs."
Todd tripped stepping out of the oddly made chamber and Sheppard steadied him. Foolish human. Todd's cuffed feeding hand closed on Sheppard's arm. Sheppard felt the strength in that hand and felt the feeding slit open. The threat of the the feeding organ's claws pressed to the inside of his wrist. "Can you feed from there?" Sheppard asked curiously.
"I can feed from anywhere I can grab," Todd told him. "A peripheral location is not preferred but it works."
"I was going to uncuff you," Sheppard pointed out. "I don't know how much you know about human anatomy but if you tear through the wrong thing in my wrist, that hand might be useless or I could bleed to death."
"You were really offering to feed me," Todd said, slightly shocked. His sensor pits flared. "You're not frightened."
"Todd..." Sheppard trailed off, not sure how or if to explain his feelings.
"Guide," the wraith corrected, releasing Sheppard's wrist.
Sheppard was quiet for a moment as he unfastened Todd's cuffs. He hesitated over the waist belt and finally removed that too. Todd stood free, in his own clothing, looking very hungry, and still the human's fear didn't spike.
"I've had about as much fear as I can take the last few hours. We're running out of options and we're all going to die if I don't set this city down somewhere safe sometime soon, okay? I'm all out of fear and adrenaline and anything useful. I'm running on coffee."
"And you want me to feed on you?" Todd pressed.
"Just leave me enough to get us to a system and land. It would be in your best interest to help us find a safe place to set down so you can gate out and rendezvous with your hive. I'll die early so we don't all die in space. I never expected to live to old age anyway."
“You’re going to let me go?” Todd asked incredulously. “Why?”
“Does it matter?”
“I think I need to understand.” The hunger burned in Todd, the raging inferno of slow starvation. He conserved energy but he waited. He needed to understand this human. There were options the human didn’t know, possibilities Todd might be able to offer.”
“I said I would get you back to Pegasus. We’re here. It’s on the fringes but I’m keeping my side of the bargain. I know we don’t really trust each other but we’ve tried to work together in the past.”
“I am a wraith. Humans do not trust us.”
“We all have things that might cause some people to judge us. I’m a soldier; in the wrong eyes, that means I’m a killer. Sure, you’re a wraith but not all wraith are alike.”
"You should sit," Todd advised him. Sheppard sat on the exam table and Todd approached with disciplined slowness. He nudged his way between the human’s legs, facing him. Deciding not to damage the human's clothing, he yanked Sheppard's shirt up out of his pants. His feeding hand trailed up Sheppard's chest to the preferred location, claws tickling over the human's skin. Sheppard shivered but Todd smelled desire, not fear. He could work with that. It was so much easier not to kill them when they weren't afraid.
He rested his other hand against Sheppard's back, solid support. "You usually only use the feeding hand," Sheppard observed. They were intimately close together, close enough that he could have tilted his head up and claimed the wraith’s lips in a kiss. He reminded himself that wraith seemed less conscious of personal space than humans. Todd didn’t mean anything by it.
"We usually push people against the ground or a wall," Todd pointed out. "Or I could grab with my claws," he added, flexing his fingers to dig into Sheppard's skin lightly without breaking it. "Are you ready?" Todd asked.
"Yes," Sheppard said firmly. As the pain of draining hit, he locked his jaws against crying out. He didn't want the guards bursting in here. They had been ordered to stay out but he wasn't sure they'd obey if they realized what he intended. The pull paused and reversed. Instead of pain, there was the pleasure of life force flooding into him in the other direction. His cock hardened in his pants. He opened his eyes, planning to ask Todd what he was doing.
Todd's breath was coming harshly and his eyes were closed. Before John could speak, the flow was reversed again. Pain spiked as Todd drained his energy but this time, the pathways had gotten crossed somewhere. It hurt but the hurt was good. Sheppard whimpered; it was a soft sound, more of pleasure than pain.
Todd did the pull-push technique a few times, finally ending it before either of them could climax and make a mess in their clothing. He regretted that he hadn’t had the control to avoid the initial pain but he had been strong enough not to kill Sheppard by accident. That was enough. He studied Sheppard's face for signs of aging. The man’s wrinkle lines were a hair deeper but it wasn't the dramatic effect that a typical feeding could have. The pull-push technique didn't just give the prey's own energy back. It was mixed with wraith energy and was more. The burn of his hunger was still present but it wasn't the raging inferno of starvation anymore. It was a moderately sized cook fire. He could live with that. So could Sheppard.
Sheppard's eyes blinked open finally, settling on Todd's face. Todd flexed the hand on his back and Sheppard sat up a little more fully, no longer relying on Todd to support him. "I bet you give fantastic back scratches," Sheppard said. His voice was slow and sounded intoxicated. Then he flushed at his own unguarded words.
Todd couldn't stop a rumbling chuckle. "Some other time, Sheppard, we have a city to save."
"Please tell me that was the enzyme," Sheppard said quietly.
"Not entirely," Todd admitted. "Under some circumstances, some wraith can find pain to be more than just pain. It can make the sharing much more intense. This is true of humans as well. Is it the first time you have felt it?"
"No but..." Sheppard stopped. He blew out a breath. "Just give me a minute, okay?"
Todd removed his hands from the human and stepped back but he hovered protectively when Sheppard stood to go check himself in the mirror. The human had wobbled a bit on shaky knees but had steadied. "If I'm better fed, it can feel even better," he promised the human. "You may be short a few years this time but if I wasn't so low to start with, you wouldn't be. You could even gain years."
"I don't feel or look too bad," Sheppard commented. "Why don't you always do it this way? You wouldn't be so short on food."
“Would you volunteer for that again?” Todd asked, curiously. He never was sure he understood Sheppard and he needed to now. They weren’t friends yet but there was mutual respect. And he had just essentially claimed John Sheppard as his dependent, more so than the first time he had given back to him.
“If there were no strings attached, it would be very tempting,” Sheppard said. Then he narrowed his eyes at Todd. “There are always strings though.”
"There is much you don't understand about wraith,” Todd admitted. “I told you before that the gift of life is only reserved for our most devout worshipers, or our brothers. There are reasons for that. You'll notice those reasons soon."
"Am I addicted?" John asked.
"No," Todd assured him. "But it will do strange things to your brain. It may yet kill you if you can't adjust to those changes. After the Genii, those changes had already started in you a tiny bit but this will accelerate them."
Sheppard shrugged it off. "It won't matter if we can't land. Let's go so I can show you which systems Atlantis is near."